Originally the discipline "Ecology and EC" is read at the Department "General Biology". Gradually a specialized unit to the Faculty of Biology, dealing with the field of ecology is formed. This leads to a decision in 1988 to set up an independent department. Initially, it includes prof. Georgi Bachvarov assist. prof. Iliana Velcheva and laboratory technician Iskra Banova. A year later, to the department is appointed Assoc. Prof. Veselin Koleshev and Assoc. Prof. Dimitar Tabakov, and another assistant - Vinca Atanasova, who works in the department for two years. During this time the first regular PhD graduate defends her thesis - Diana Kirin, which later became an assistant. Since 1993, the Department is joined by Assist. Prof. Atanas Irikov.
After the retirement of Prof..Bachvarov, who was head of the department since its founding until retirement age, head of the department becomes Assoc. Prof. Atanas Donev. In 2003 Assoc. Prof. Zheko Zhekov joined the department and became its head until retirement. Since then, the department is headed by prof. Iliana Velcheva.
Currently, at the department of Ecology and environmental conservation work one professor, two associate professors, four chief assistant professors and two biologists. The main task of the department is to organize and conduct teaching, research and development activities in the field of ecology and conservation of the environment.
The department plays a significant role in the teaching of students from the Bachelor's degree program "Ecology and environmental conservation" at the Faculty of Biology by carying out the main part of the lectures and exercises in it. The department also organizes and conducts teaching for degree "Master of science" in two Masters programs - "Ecology and ecosystems conservation" and "Ecology, management and control of the environment", as well as PhD program in "Ecology and ecosystems conservation".
The specialists of the department are qualified for scientific research in various fields of ecology such as: environmental monitoring, animal ecology, urban ecology, environmental toxicology, malacology, teriology, herpetology, aquaculture, marine ecology, ichthyology, paleontology and paleoecology.
Under the guidance of the department's staff many theses of students were successfully defended in the scientific fields in which they work. The department members are leaders and participants in several research projects funded by PHARE, EU National Fund "Scientific Research" Fund "Scientific Research" at the University of Plovdiv. The members of the Department publish their research papers in prestigious national and international scientific journals. Several textbooks and conference proceedings were published so far.
The department's staff communicate with NGOs and universities, research institutes in the country, abroad and implement joint scientific production.
The Faculty of Biology owns a contemporary equipped material-technical and informative base for the realization of an optimal educational process. Educational classrooms, specialized cabinets for lectures, seminars and practical activities with the students; literature and environment for self-dependent work in the library; a computer hall with constant 24-hour Internet connectivity are provided.
For the teaching process with the students from educational-qualification degree "Bachelor of science" of "Ecology and Environmental Conservation" the necessary number of specialized classrooms and laboratories are provided. The lecture and seminar activity is conducted in classrooms with contemporary equipment for optimal modern education.
The student's practical work is conducted in form of laboratory exercises in suitably equipped laboratories for the corresponding disciplines.
The summer practice of Ecology and Environmental Conservation is conducted at the University's base at the town of Tzarevo (Southeast Bulgaria) at the Black Sea coast.
During the years the lecturers from the department have developed and published various study text books to aid the students and the study process.
At the department "Ecology and environmental conservation", there are several educational and scientific collections that support and complement the learning process in the training of students - palaeontological, mineralogical, petrographic collections, conservation collections of invertebrates and vertebrates in Bulgaria, collection of marine invertebrates and fish, collection of bone material of animals and collection of foreign molluscs (clams and snails).
The beginning of the creation of paleontological collection started at the Department of Biology University of Plovdiv and is associated with the founding of the Higher Pedagogical Institute - Plovdiv in 1961 and later (in 1974) - University of Plovdiv. This collection includes a relatively large number of fossils (over 500 specimens of nearly 350 species) collected and defined over the years by a number of prominent specialists (paleontologists, zoologists and botanists) and students of the Faculty of Biology. The main part of the collection are fossil marine invertebrate animals, which are particularly preferred for research as existed throughout the history of life on Earth. The collection is exhibited in the building of the Faculty of Biology, on the second floor in the lobby by 15th auditorium "Prof. Zivko Lambrev "in eight glass windows. The exhibition is arranged in geohronologichno-evolutionary principle. In the first showcase are sorted celled foraminifera - one of the first eukaryotic organisms with shells that during certain periods were so widespread that are built thick rock layers. In the next window are sponges and corals, representatives of the two-plied multicellular animals, as well as some of the most interesting arthropods - trilobites. There are three classes of mollusks exhibited - snails (gastropods), shellfish (bivalves) and and cephalopods (cephalopods). In next showcase are exposed brachiopods, sea lilies and sea urchins, and long dead group of graptolites, representatives of Hemichordate animals. In one of the large windows is a reconstruction of the sea basin of Palaeozoic typical flora and fauna. In a small showcase cabinets are exposed fossils (mostly Class Mollusca) from Paris tertiary basin. They are a collection of Dr. F. Krantz, donated by the Museum of Natural History in Bonn. The last showcase are presented and subfosili fossils of vertebrates - prints of skeletons of fish, shark teeth, tooth of mammoth bones and teeth of a cave bear.
The mineralogical collection at the Department "Ecology and environmental conservation" is exhibited on the first floor of the Faculty of Biology in two showcase cabinets. It contains over 100 mineral specimens, presented in their most typical and in some rare forms. The samples are arranged in classes according to the classification Acad. Kostov. It is assumed that some of the exhibits were provided by the University in the 70s for the needs of the learning process. The petrographic collection is exhibited on the first floor of the Faculty of Biology in two showcase cabinets. It contains over 80 samples of the most common rocks. It originates with that of the mineralogical collection.
For the teaching courses on "Conservation Ecology" the department has a rich collection of wet preparations and herbaria of protected representatives of the Bulgarian flora and fauna. The total collection includes over 80 wet preparations and over 40 herbariums, as most of them are kept in school Laboratory of "Ecology and environmental conservation" and are used in the students' exercises. Representative samples of part of the protected species of invertebrates and vertebrates are exposed in windows in the corridors of the Faculty of Biology. The collection with conservation status of invertebrates in Bulgaria is on the first floor of the faculty, close to 14th auditorium. The collection contains both wet and dry preparations of insects and shells of mollusks. For each species in the exhibition is presented its conservation status, according to Bulgarian and international law. The collection is "supplemented" with pictures of some of the representatives. The collection representing the conservation status of vertebrates in Bulgaria, is located on the second floor, next to the computer laboratory and the laboratory of zoology of vertebrates. The collection consists only of representatives of fish, amphibians and reptiles, as again indicated with the conservation status of the species and photos of some characteristic species. In the same window are exposed two other collections - Collection of marine invertebrates and fish and Collection bone material of animals found in the caves. The first supports this course "Marine Ecology" and the second - the discipline "Ecology of the caves." In one of the pyramidal showcases next to 15th auditorium, next to the paleontological collection is located a very special collection, which was donated by the late prof. Georgi Bachvarov, DSc, who is also the founder of the department back in 1989. This is a collection of foreign molluscs (clams and snails), consisting of over 70 different species from all over the world (USA, Cuba, Philippines, Greece, etc.). The collection is complemented with samples collected by Assoc. Porf. Dilyan Georgiev, DSc.
Additional information the students receive from two different, constantly updated information boards.